Over the past four years, since the publication of my book From Values to Action, I have made more than 500 presentations on values-based leadership to senior executives, middle managers, new hires, and students, as well as leaders in every field from business to academia, philanthropy to religious organizations. Across these varied audiences, there has been a common theme: The more people learn about values-based leadership, the more they hunger to know how to put it into action, for themselves and for their organizations.
After many requests (and some urging from my students at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management) I am taking on the challenge of showing others how to move from values-based leadership to the values-based organization with a new book — Becoming the Best: Build a World-Class Organization Through Values-Based Leadership, which will be published in March 2015 by Jossey-Bass.
This book continues the journey that began with From Values to Action and the four principles of values-based leadership: self-reflection, balance, true self-confidence, and genuine humility. In Becoming the Best, values-based leadership extends from the individual to the organization through five stages that I call “the five bests” — best self, best team, best partner, best investment, and best citizen.
In the book, I illustrate the five bests using episodes from my own career, as well as the perspectives and experiences of several values-based leaders whom I greatly admire:
- Doug Conant, former president and CEO, Campbell Soup Co.
- Gary Gorman, founder and president, Gorman & Co. Inc.
- Kelly Grier, vice chair, talent, Ernst & Young Americas
- Mark Neaman, president and CEO, NorthShore University HealthSystem
- Jai Shekhawat, CEO and founder, Fieldglass
- Tim Sullivan, managing director, Madison Dearborn Partners
- Mark Thierer, chairman & CEO, Catamaran Corporation
- Rick Waddell, chairman and CEO, Northern Trust
- Laysha Ward, president, community relations, Target Corporation
- Andrew Youn, founder, One Acre Fund
Their enthusiasm for the topic and willingness to share their experiences speaks volumes about their commitment to values-based leadership and to serve as role models for others.
As with my first book, all of my proceeds from Becoming the Best will go to One Acre Fund to support its work of increasing farm yields and feeding more farm families in Africa. The mission and vision of One Acre is an exemplary illustration of becoming the best to the benefit of self, team, partners, stakeholders (e.g., the donors who “invest” in One Acre’s success), and, ultimately, the world.
Over the next five weeks leading up to the publication of the book, each of my weekly blog posts will focus on one of the five bests and the context they provide for putting values-based leadership into action, so stay tuned!
The publication date by Jossey Bass is scheduled for the first week in March. If you are interested, you can pre-order your copy of Becoming the Best through these booksellers: